Folk musician Raghu Dixit donates Rs. 5 lakhs to fund 100 educational loans for Rang De’s borrowers

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The world recognises Raghu Dixit as one of the most versatile artist and a great inspiration for all Indie artists. A self taught musician with a unique voice and a flair for the dramatic, Raghu is rightfully credited with introducing a host of young people across the world to Indian folk music. What you may not know is that Raghu also doubles up as a philanthropist and a social investor.

Since 2012, Raghu has been associated with Bangalore based not for profit, Rang De, as a brand ambassador. Rang De is India’s pioneering online platform for peer to peer lending that allows individuals and corporate to invest in borrowers from low income households by providing them with affordable microloans. Raghu is investing close to Rs 5, 00,000 with Rang De to provide education microloans to borrowers across India.

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Speaking about his association with Rang De, Raghu Dixit adds,

We all know and agree that poverty is the biggest long-standing problem that ails India. It’s very easy and common of us – the urban, young, well-to-do India, to shake our heads and curse our country and the government’s apathy every morning when we read or see news about the country’s poor and their insurmountable troubles from hunger to diseases to the lack of basic dignity in the eyes of the society.

The divide between the haves and the have-nots has only been increasing by the day. Most of us get away by blaming the government for not doing its job and a larger percentage of us are just plain indifferent. A very small percentage of us can hear the knock on our conscience and say ‘I wish I could do something about it’ and even lesser number of us actually get out there and walk the talk but mostly don’t know where to start!

Raghu was someone like that till he discovered Rang De through a friend’s recommendation. He was looking for organisations that were making a sustainable effort and impact in the fight against poverty in India. He personally met Rang De and its core team and was impressed with their commitment and more so in their operational procedures. He was very impressed with the fact that this is NOT a charity. Instead, it’s actually an investment. You loan whatever amount of money you can spare starting from as little as Rs.100/- to the poorest of the poorest of India to start small sustainable businesses to earn a living and live a life of dignity and respect. The best part is that the loan you give out comes back to you with interest!

Rang De appealed to me because it is about investing in the capabilities and potential all of us possess, irrespective of our class, creed, region or religion. By giving people the means to plan their own future better, we as social investors can make a long-term impact. It is always a special day when I receive an email notification from Rang De about repayments from borrowers, since it lets me know that they are doing well and that the capital is being put to its rightful use. What’s really remarkable about Rang De is that through reinvestments you can multiply manifold the impact you have.

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Two years back he had invested to help some of the displaced farmer families of Pusad, a village near Nagpur, to start small businesses and it’s heartening to see these families now doing well and become self sufficient. It is indeed a satisfying experience to have contributed albeit in small way to eradicate poverty from India. Imagine the India it will be if every young urban Indian contributes similarly!

And today, he feels good of his investment to fund education of nearly 100 young bright kids from rural India. The future of this country is in the hands of these young boys and girls and if we empower them with education, there is no doubt that soon we will be able to eradicate poverty from this beautiful nation.

He has urged all his fans, friends and fellow Indians to be a part of this movement through Rang De and build an amazing nation that we are destined to be!

Smita Ram, Rang De co-founder, said

Raghu has been a tremendous source of inspiration and encouragement for the organization. Rang De’s concept of investing in the capabilities and potential every one possesses is what helped us strike a rapport with Raghu from our first meeting itself. Apart from business loans, Rang De provides educational loans for primary and secondary schooling as well as for higher education. Loans for primary and secondary schooling are made available to the borrower at an interest rate of 6.5% flat (p.a) while loans for higher education are available at 4.5% flat (p.a). With this latest contribution, Raghu will actually be supporting approximately 100 educational loans, including some loans that will be given to students studying optometry.

Till date, Rang De has disbursed more than 1300 education loans. Education loans were added to Rang De’s portfolio after borrowers placed demands, Rang De was working with. Smita adds, “Enrolment numbers in Government run schools have been decreasing consistently. Poor parents are spending a bigger portion of their household income in sending their children to private schools in the hopes that their children will get a headstart in life. Most of our loans for primary education are utilized at the beginning of the academic year to buy uniforms, books, stationary, and pay school fee since households do not have enough liquidity. Earlier, our borrowers would take loans from moneylenders at really high interest rates since banks would not give them loans for educational purposes. “

Raghu’s investment will provide short and medium term loans to families and when the principal is repaid more students can hope to get funded thanks to this remarkably talented and generous musician.